The prolific Peregrine Run stole the show in the featured Gina & The Champions Play After Racing Hurdle – as trainer Charles Byrnes also had a night to remember at Cork.
Peter Fahey’s Peregrine Run was sent off an even-money favourite and, back over hurdles without his usual blinkers, the nine-year-old duly completed a five-timer which has come up in just under two months.
The 15-time winner travelled beautifully in the hands of his new regular rider Kevin Sexton and led before two out to score by three-quarters of a length from Byrnes’ novice Doctor Duffy – who was backed into 9-2 from 8-1.
Turnpike Trip had won race two for Byrnes before Doctor Duffy completed the trainer’s near-miss sequence of three successive runner-up spots, thanks also to Give Battle and Sky Marshal – who were beaten respectively by just a nose and a head.
Reflecting on Peregrine Run’s victory, Fahey said: “This race was never the plan – the plan was to go to Leopardstown (for a Flat maiden).
“But they changed the rules for the Amateur Handicap at Galway, and now a horse has to have run three times on the Flat to qualify, so I said I’d stick him into this race and see.
“It worked out a great opportunity, and he was in great form. He has been plenty busy, but he is taking his races so well. He is loving it and will now go straight to Galway.
“He’ll be entered in the Plate and the three-mile hurdle on the Saturday. We’ll see what happens and hope he comes out of this race well.
“I’d love to win a Flat maiden with him this year, because his easiest options over jumps are now all gone.”
Byrnes had supplied Davy Russell with the first leg of a double on the ex-Henry Candy Flat racer Turnpike Trip in the Mallowprint.ie Maiden Hurdle.
Born By The Sea fell at the last when still in with every chance, and on jumps and stable debut Turnpike Trip got the better of Golazo by a length.
Russell was then the first to relegate Byrnes to second spot when triumphing at 11-1 on Gordon Elliott’s Smiling Eliza in the Tote Backing Your Team Handicap Hurdle.
It was fellow County Limerick operator Gillian Scott who foiled Byrnes in the Finbarr Quaid Electrical Maiden Hurdle.
Scott trained her first winner under her married name as 16-1 shot An Fearchan got the better of Byrnes’ hope Sky Marshal.
Scott is top Flat jockey Billy Lee’s sister, and here she supplied a welcome success in the saddle for Mark Enright – who had been out of action since breaking two bones in his shoulder in the Irish National.
Multiple Grade One-winning handler Colm Murphy returned to the training ranks after a three-year break in the closing bumper.
But his Glendruid could manage only a midfield placing as Presto caught the eye on debut in the Battle Of The Clubs INH Flat Race for trainer Oliver McKiernan and jockey Richie Deegan – winning by eight lengths at 20-1.